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A Wild Ride Through Art History at Cal State


For several years now, the gallery known as SCIAC (Studio Channel Islands Art Center) has been making good use of its ample gallery and studio space while the former Camarillo State Hospital site was readied for its new life as California State University Channel Islands.

Now the fledgling university has caught up with the gallery, and the current exhibition is a timely convergence of acronyms.

CSUCI art faculty head Jack Reilly, at Cal State Northridge for many years, is featured in the main gallery, with samplings of other adjunct faculty members' work in the back gallery.

Forget what you find on the surfaces of Reilly's art, the picturesque landscape references and freewheeling allusions to art history amid other scattershot elements. In various ways, this work, drawn from his art over the years, is about the idea of being "about" something beyond what is immediately apparent.

An art-about-art attitude often is at work, in which he juxtaposes and borrows imagery with a postmodernist spin all his own. Mixing painting with relief and assemblage media, he literally piles high and crosshatches references, to the point where a sense of a center is sometimes blurry.

"Apres le Dejeuner (sur l'herb)" takes aim, broadly, at Manet, with its image of a reclining female nude in a landscape touching on both Manet's famous painting of half-clad picnickers as well as his famous courtesan portrait, "Olympia." Art, cultural ideals and ecology blend in his "Endangered Landscape" series as he craftily mixes idyllic landscape scenes with askew, gilded frames. These are laid atop foundations whose murky, tactile bases suggest fossilized garbage.

His "Fusion Series" pushes his basic ideals into a logical new visual scheme. Square canvases, painted and treated in disparate ways, are joined to create complex shaped canvases that are all about the parts rather than a definable whole. Contemporary data overload may be the central theme in the series, with titles such as "Anxiety of Idealism" and "Origin of Trepidation." From the evidence in this show, Reilly's art is obviously in a process of continued change and reinvention.

* Jack Reilly, "Paintings Past and Present," Studio Channel Islands Art Center, CSU Channel Islands, Camarillo. Ends Nov. 9. Thursdays-Saturdays, noon-3 p.m. (805) 383-1368.

Rubiconography: Ventura's claim to theater fame, the Rubicon Theatre Company, is opening its new season gently, tunefully. Following in the footsteps of last season's vintage American musical "High Button Shoes," the Rubicon is presenting "Tintypes," a compendium of turn-of-the-century songs, as a "preseason musical." Tunes by Sousa, Gershwin, Stephen Foster and George M. Cohan dot the Tony-nominated show.

This production is directed by Bonnie Hellman with musical direction by David Potter, both also responsible for "High Button Shoes."

The cast includes Greg Zerkle as Teddy Roosevelt and Darlesia Cearcy, Broadway players both.

* "Tintypes," Rubicon at the Laurel, 1006 E. Main St., Ventura. Wednesdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Ends Oct. 20. $28-$43. (805) 667-2900.

Noontime Sounds: To inaugurate a new series of Town Concerts, the Ventura Master Chorale is presenting the premiere of a new piece by Ventura composer Ross Care, in a free lunchtime concert at the Ventura County Museum of History and Art on Friday.

Care, who penned the original music for the Rubicon's production of "Glass Menagerie," has written a piece titled "Sacred Harp."

The piece will be performed by Marcia Dickstein, a noted Los Angeles-based harp soloist, along with the chorale's Master Singers and instrumentalists, led by chorale director Burns Taft. The new Town Concerts series, timed to coincide with California Arts Day, continues with encore performances of Care's music in December and March.

* "Sacred Harp" by Ross Care, Friday at 12:15 p.m., Ventura County Museum of History and Art, 100 E. Main St., Ventura. (805) 653-0323.

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